Staying up to date on vaccinations is more important now than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can help keep illness from spreading in our community by getting vaccinated. Information about immunizations in Albuquerque.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Information

The Federal Government has approved three COVID-19 vaccines for distribution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. Getting vaccinated is an important step to help keep you and your family safe and end the pandemic.

Contact you doctor if you have specific questions about any health issues, recent vaccinations, or COVID-19 treatments that might affect your ability to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. Contact your primary care doctor or the New Mexico Department of Health to find a vaccine near you.

What is mRNA?

COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. While mRNA is a new approach for vaccination, scientists have studied mRNA for decades. These mRNA vaccines provide our cells with specific instructions to produce a harmless piece of a protein found on the outside of the COVID-19 virus, called a spike protein. Our immune system recognizes the spike protein as foreign and builds antibodies. These antibodies can then protect us from future COVID-19 infections.

It’s important to remember a few things about mRNA vaccines:

  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. mRNA vaccines do not use any live virus that can cause COVID-19, and do not contain genetic material for any other component of the virus.
  • The vaccine does not cause changes to our DNA. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell where our DNA is kept. After reading the instructions for the spike protein, our cells destroy the mRNA.

How is mRNA different from other vaccines?

Unlike traditional vaccines that use inactivated or weakened viruses to trigger an immune response, mRNA does not use any part of a virus. Instead, mRNA provides instructions to our cells to produce a harmless piece of the protein found on the outside of the COVID-19 virus. This protein teaches our body how to respond to COVID-19 without being exposed to the virus itself.

How is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine different from Pfizer and Moderna?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given as a single shot while Pfizer and Moderna require two shots for full effectiveness. The vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is a viral vector vaccine, meaning that it uses a different virus (not COVID-19), to deliver instructions to our cells. These instructions tell our cells to produce a harmless piece of a protein found on the outside of the COVID-19 virus, called a spike protein. Our immune system recognizes the spike protein as foreign builds antibodies. These antibodies can then protect us from future COVID-19 infections.

Viral vector vaccines cannot cause infection with COVID-19 or the virus that they use to deliver the instructions to our cells. They also do not cause changes to our DNA.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

All available COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and prevent 100% of hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. Each vaccine has met rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In rare cases, individuals have experienced severe allergic reactions after getting vaccinated for COVID-19.  These reactions were temporary and were quickly resolved by medical personnel. There have not been any instances of reactions resulting in death.

These reactions most often occurred in people who had a known history of allergic reactions. All allergic reactions occurred within minutes of receiving the vaccination and every individual has made a full recovery. Vaccination providers have medication available on site to immediately treat this type of reaction, should it occur.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are monitoring these developments closely. It’s important to remember that allergic reactions happened in a just a few people out of the millions who have already received the vaccine, and although rare, can happen with other existing vaccines.

If you have questions regarding your medical history or your ability to get a COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your primary care doctor or other medical professional.

How many shots will I need?

Currently, the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines require two shots given 3 to 4 weeks apart. It’s important to get both shots, as this will provide you with the most protection against COVID-19. The Johnson&Johnson vaccine is a single dose, offering protection after just one shot. It’s possible that booster doses of the vaccines will be needed at later dates. 

Do I still have to wear a mask and social distance after I’ve received been fully vaccinated?

Yes, you should continue to wear a mask and social distance even after you’ve been fully vaccinated (received 2 doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 1 shot of Johnson&Johnson vaccine) for COVID-19. A pandemic requires that we use all the tools available to us to help lower the spread. It is important to continue all social distancing measures, wearing a mask, washing hands, and following all current Public Health Orders.

Will I test positive for COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?

No, COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test. If you test positive for COVID-19 shortly after getting vaccinated, it is because you were either exposed prior to getting vaccinated or shortly after receiving your vaccine. Remember, it takes a few weeks after your final dose of vaccine to get the most benefit.

Do I need to get the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?

Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve already had COVID-19. Right now, experts do not know how long a person’s immunity will last after having COVID-19. This type of immunity, or natural immunity, can vary from person to person and might not last very long. Due to the severity of COVID-19 and the possibility, although rare, of reinfection it is important to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when you are able.  

Talk with your doctor if you’ve been treated for COVID-19 within the last 90 days or have medical questions about getting the vaccine.

How much will the vaccine cost?

COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone, regardless of your insurance status.

Vaccination providers can charge an administration fee. Most often these fees will be reimbursed by your health insurance or the federal government. The federal government requires vaccine providers to administer the vaccine to everyone regardless of their insurance or immigration status.

Can my kids get the vaccine?

Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children 12 years of age and older. All other COVID-19 vaccines are available for individuals 18 years old and older. COVID-19 vaccines for children will hopefully be available late fall/early winter 2021.

I’ve heard about new strains of COVID-19. Will the vaccine work against these new strains?

All viruses can change or mutate overtime. These new mutations are called variants as they differ slightly from the original virus.

Medical experts are working hard to learn how variants spread, how or if they differ in disease transmission and severity from other variants, and any challenges this might present for vaccination.

Information on Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccination Documents

The market for falsified COVID-19 records, including vaccination cards and negative test results is growing rapidly as people tire of restrictions and are anxious to return to normalcy. In the next year, it is predicted that the market will surge as industries like travel, dining and sporting events consider requiring documentation. Since January, the volume of advertisements for COVID related items like falsified vaccination cards & test results has increased by 300%. Sellers and buyers are breaking federal law by falsifying these documents. Attempting to obtain a falsified vaccination card or negative COVID test result by is not only illegal but also extremely risky, as hackers are more interested in obtaining personal information and identity for exploitation.

Additional Resources

NM Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Influenza, or flu, is a viral respiratory illness that is spread person to person via respiratory droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Symptoms of the flu often come on suddenly and can include, fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue. Last year, it’s estimated that between 39‒56 million individuals in the United States had the flu and 410,000‒740,000 people were hospitalized for their illness.

This year, it’s important to get vaccinated for the flu to help reduce respiratory illness and preserve limited health care resources that may be in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the City of Albuquerque Doing to Promote Vaccination?

In order to best serve our community, the City of Albuquerque is encouraging all of its employees to get vaccinated for the flu at our yearly employee vaccination events. We are also partnering with other State and local agencies to spread the word and encourage all residents to get vaccinated.

Routine Vaccinations

Routine vaccinations, typically provided in childhood, prevent a number of serious diseases, including: measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella, and more. Recent reports find that many children may not be up to date on their routine vaccinations given stay at home orders and concerns with COVID-19. Getting kids vaccinated for these diseases keeps our community healthy. Many of these vaccinations are also required in order for children to attend school.

A boy receiving a vacine from a nurse while being held by his mother.

Additional Resources